BGF opened the doors of Soho’s Ham Yard Hotel for its seventh annual CEO event yesterday. ‘Pioneers of Progress’, brought together 200 of the UK’s brightest leaders – from every sector and region – to discuss the future of British enterprise.
Over the course of the afternoon, BGF championed the potential of business and heard from a range of experienced entrepreneurs and thought-leaders.
BGF CEO Stephen Welton set the tone for the day ahead, calling the event an opportunity to celebrate the remarkable achievements of UK companies that play an active role in shaping a more positive future.
Paul Lindley, Ella’s Kitchen founder, Jason Stockwood, Simply Business CEO, Will Butler-Adams, Brompton Bicycle managing director, and Stephen Murphy, OVO chairman and BGF non-executive director, took the stage to discuss the power of purpose and retaining a founding mission through growth.
Next on the agenda: inspiring ideas for the future, three keynotes from the minds asking the big questions of business and society.
Economist and former presidential adviser to George W. Bush Dr Pippa Malmgren, on looking towards how businesses and technologies will shape the future, said: “Prediction is a mug’s game. Instead, we must focus on preparedness. Being prepared will make you agile, flexible and quick to adapt.”
Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, delivered the next keynote, on the disruptive potential of AI and the importance of educating young people to be prepared for the 21st Century: “We have been teaching people to act like machines, now we need to educate people to be more like humans.”
“The rules have changed. Businesses assume they are the brand but social media has turned consumers into brands,” said academic Dr Eliza Filby later, who addressed changing businesses through the generations and the impact technology has had on society.
Finally, futurologist Mark Stephenson took to the stage to close what had been a brilliant and stimulating series of discussions. Mark urged the audience to look forwards and take on the big societal challenges such as climate change: “The environment is starting to send back invoices. Any investment that doesn’t commit to protecting the environment is not an investment, it’s a cost to our future.”
The event then continued to 100 Wardour street, hosting a dinner to celebrate the Pioneers of Progress, with the keynote speech from BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg who gave her view on Brexit and the future of Britain.
Seven Hills is delighted to support BGF with the Portfolio Day – you can see more about BGF here.